Employment protections toughened under new California laws in 2017
Protecting Employee & Consumer Rights

Employment protections toughened under new California laws in 2017

This is our yearly wrap-up of some of the new laws that were created or that took effect in California in 2017 to continue to protect employees:


California prohibits on-duty and on-call rest breaks

The high court ruled that an off-duty rest break means a time during which an employee is relieved from all work-related duties and free from employer control. Such off-duty rest breaks must be provided. Thus, generally, and for most employees, California law prohibits on-duty and on-call rest breaks. During required rest breaks, employers must relieve their employees of all duties and relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time. Otherwise, employers must pay an extra hour of pay per day that a rest break is not provided.


Gender pay equality law expanded

Beginning 2017, an employer shall not pay employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of a different race or ethnicity for substantially similar work, and performed under similar working conditions, even though employees may have different titles or work at different sites. Additionally, an employee’s prior salary cannot, by itself, justify any disparity in the employee’s compensation.

Domestic worker bill of rights made permanent

In 2017, the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights law became permanent. This law entitled personal attendants, such as nannies and caregivers, to overtime pay for work beyond 9 hours per day or 45 hours per week.

New minimum wage increases

For any employer who employs 26 or more employees, the minimum wage shall be $10.50 per hour from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017. It will increase to $11.00 per hour starting January 1, 2018. Employers with 25 or fewer employees will raise their minimum wage in 2018 from $10.00 per hour to $10.50 per hour.

California Supreme Court affirms employees’ right to one day’s rest in seven


A day of rest is guaranteed for each workweek. A “workweek” is defined as any seven consecutive days, starting with the same calendar day each week. Thus, a workweek means a fixed and regularly recurring period, e.g., Sunday to Saturday, or Monday to Sunday, and not a rolling period of any seven consecutive days. Employees working shifts of six hours or less every day in a workweek is exempted from the day of rest requirement. But, if, on any one day, an employee works more than six hours, a day of rest must be provided during that workweek.

An employer must not induce its employees to forgo rest to which he or she is entitled. Employees who work 7 straight days must be paid according to California’s principal overtime laws, including paying an overtime premium for work on the seventh-day.

Paid sick leave extended to in-home supportive services employees

Beginning July 1, 2018, an employee who provides in-home supportive services who works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the start of employment are entitled to paid sick leave. These employees provide personal care and domestic services to persons who are aged, blind or disabled and who live in their own homes.

Toilet facilities must be identified as all-gender

Beginning March 1, 2017, all single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or government agency must be identified as all-gender toilet facilities.

The Law Offices of C. Joe Sayas, Jr. welcomes inquiries about this topic. All inquiries are confidential and at no-cost. You can contact the office at (818) 291-0088 or visit www.joesayaslaw.com or our Facebook page Joe Sayas Law. [C. Joe Sayas, Jr., Esq. is an experienced trial attorney who has successfully recovered wages and other monetary damages for thousands of employees and consumers. He was named Top Labor & Employment Attorney in California by the Daily Journal, consistently selected as Super Lawyer by the Los Angeles Magazine, and is the recipient of PABA’s Community Champion Award for 2016.]

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TAGS: California labor laws, employment protections, minimum wage increases, paid sick leave, pay equality, rest breaks, worker bill of rights, workers’ rights
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